The University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team took a major step toward locking up a lofty playoff seed, sweeping the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack on the road in Kamloops last weekend.
The Cascades flexed their defensive muscles from the opening tip-off on Friday – they out-scored the WolfPack 29-3 in the first quarter en route to a 75-41 triumph, limiting the hosts to 19.7 per cent shooting from the field.
Mission’s Aieisha Luyken led the way with 16 points, including five three-pointers. Chilliwack’s Sarah Wierks added 13 points and nine rebounds and Nataliia Gavryliuk had 12 points and four steals.
TRU came with a much more determined effort in the Saturday rematch, but the Cascades battled through foul trouble to grind out a 75-67 victory.
Chilliwackians led the way, with Kayli Sartori netting 17 point and Nicole Wierks adding 13.
The WolfPack (7-7) had been just one game back of the Cascades (10-4) going into the weekend, but UFV put some distance between them while staying one game up on UBC and UVic (both 9-5) for first place in the Pacific Division of Canada West.
“It was important for us to take two, and we really took care of business,” head coach Al Tuchscherer said. “I thought it was one of our better weekends.”
The Cascades women, a veteran squad ranked No. 10 in the nation, have had a couple of unexpected stumbles this season – most recently, blowing an 18-point lead late in the third quarter and falling in OT to the Winnipeg Wesmen on Jan. 10.
Tuchscherer hopes the performance in Kamloops indicates his team is turning the corner.
“Hopefully this is a little bit of a spark that we can build on from here and just continue to get better every game,” he said. “Time is ticking away here, and we need to play some better basketball than we have up to this point.”